The Worst and the Best of 2002
December 19, 2002
By Avi Green
The year is ending, and so, itís now time to dish out opinions on
what some of the worst and the best stuff of the year was. So letís
cut to the chase and see what rhinestones were being published this
year for starters.
The losers of the year
Iron Man. As I write this, itís interesting to note that Iíve
recently been reading Kurt Busiekís 1998 miniseries, The Iron
Age, which retells the origin of Tony Starkís armored alter
ego for the new era, and not only that, it even respects the hero
and the people who rally round him, such as Pepper Potts, the former
boxer from Queens who became his chauffer and later also an
executive employee for his beautiful redheaded executive secretary,
and Harold ďHappyĒ Hogan,Stark Enterprises and Pepperís husband. Tony is certainly a man with moral
flaws, but one whoís still a very talented and kindly man who, deep
within, has more than plenty of redeeming features that heís able to
But under the overrated Mike Grellís writing in the current 2002
issues, much of this goes down the drain, thanks mostly to Grellís
apparent lack of interest in focusing on either Tony or his own
armor plated alter ego. The beginning issue by Grell, Iron Man #50 vol. 2, was in
very questionable taste, and overall a spectacular failure. Worst
part, however, was his shockingly ill treatment of Pepper Potts, by
having her get assaulted by the very questionable character of
Ayisha, whoíd been turned into a cybernetic witch, terminating
Pepperís pregnancy, the part that really turned me off. This was
really sick and degrading, and goes to show that Grell hasnít
learned much since the time when he wrote Green Arrow: The
Longbow Hunters for DC, in which Black Canary was brutally
assaulted in an act of excessive writing.
Plus, the way that the battle between Tony and Po, son of the
Mandarin, and even Tonyís revealing his secret ID to the world was
done with surprising awkwardness. In the former example, Tony faces
off against Po while the latter uses simply his martial arts
skills and not the power rings that his father used.
While Iím sure that Po is an expert martial artist, thereís just no
way that he could be quick enough to dodge Iron Manís weapons, and
so, the duel was underwhelming. In the latter, Tony reveals his
identity as IM while going to rescue a pet thatís in the way of a
car, and weíre supposed to believe that he can fit on his armor
plates as fast as the Flash can get his costume on. Not that Iíve
got anything against Tony Stark unmasking his secret identity to the
public, but if itís going to be done with such alarming haste, then
that, to say the least, is simply bad writing, and only serves to
undermine the entire storyís credibility.
And then, just when you think it couldnít get worse, Grell dredges
up yet another story involving the boring bad guy Tyler Stone. I
just couldnít believe that IMís writers were making yet another
dreadful mistake in storytelling, using a crook whoís already proven
worthless, and continues to be so. They seem to be trying to turn
him into IMís answer to Mysterio, but unfortunately, such villains
donít work for IM, because Shellheadís sensory systems make it
impossible for Mysterioís illusionary gimmicks, or even Ty Stoneís
virtual reality devices, to trick him. Please, someone take this man
off the title already.
Green Lantern. Itís bad enough that DCís editors committed
some hideous errors with Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern of the era
gone by. Now theyíve gone a step lower by allowing the overrated
Judd Winick to use the book as a platform for his own agenda, which,
in this case, was to glorify homosexuality and push it for
sainthood. The story revolving around Terry Berg, the gay teenager
working at current GL Kyle Raynerís art gallery, was astonishingly
one-sided and even went so far as to villify the poor boyís parents
by having them say that his lifestyle was blame for his being
assaulted. Winickís step is typical of many filmmakers in example,
blaming the victims and villifying the parental figures, and is an
incredible insult to the public in general.
And then, it turns out that all this was intended not just simply
for conducting a one-sided agenda, but for the purpose of getting
Kyle Rayner and his girlfriend to take off for outer space so that
he could try to get over his guilt over having beaten up the
cardboard villains who beat up Terry for no other purpose than to be
violent for the sake of it, and so that then, John Stewart could be
brought in to coincide with his role in the animated Justice
League Adventures on TV!
As if it werenít bad enough that Marvel made some truly awful errors
by imitating the X-Men movieís set design for their own books, now
DCís got to do it with their own books as well. Not very good
artistic thinking, to say the least.
With that behind us, letís now turn to the best of the year.
The winners of the year
Avengers. Kang came to our timeline
again to conquer the earth, and the Earth's Mightiest Heroes find
themselves facing serious challenges to stop Kang's menace and
ensure his defeat again. It was long, I admit it. But even so, I
enjoyed it. The teamwork, the character relations, and the issue
with Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man really struck a chord with me, and
the scenes in which they necked were fabulous. The characterization
for Warbird, as usual, was very strong. Kurt Busiekís completed his
run in the past four years with a bang. Though one of the longest
ever story arcs for the Earth's Mightiest Heroes, it still did quite
well, and was very respectable of the cast and their
Superman. All the issues of the sans-adjective Superman
written by Jeph Loeb were among the best this year.
Batman. Jeph Loeb meanwhile has been doing wonders with the
Dark Knight of Gotham, and the Hush story arc is turning out to be a
great story arc. His writing shows that he knows the characters and
what makes them click. Donít miss it folks!
Batgirl. This book too has been showing a lot of good
potential, including young Cassandra Cain's success in fighting
against Lady Shiva, and I enjoyed it very much. Recommended.
With that, the worst to best year roundup ends. And Iím sure hoping
that even the next year will hold many great surprises in store for
all of us! Enjoy the coming year in comics, everyone!
Avi Green, whoís hopeful that someday, the Green Lanternís
book will be fixed to the fullest, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2002 Avi Green. All rights reserved.
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